Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Norway to Launch $13M Upgrade of Doomsday Seed Vault ‘Crucial to Food Safety’

Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Norway is planning on spending $12.7 million to to upgrade the doomsday seed vault the country constructed 10 years ago.

According to the Norwegian government, upgrades to the vault will include building a new concrete access tunnel and a service building that can store "emergency power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment that emits heat through the tunnel," the Verge reported.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed bank on the Norwegian island of Svalbard. The purpose of the vault, which was built in an abandoned Arctic coal mine, is to preserve a variety of plant seeds from potential large-scale regional or global crises.

If a global natural or manmade disaster, like a nuclear war, was to take place, the Norwegian government would be able to use and distribute seeds protected within the vault to regrow crops and plants. Although the facility is owned and administered by Norway's Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the world community is free to use it, and depositors retain ownership rights over their seeds stored in the facility. The vault can store up to 4.5 million crop varieties. It currently houses more than 890,000 specimens of plant seeds from almost every country in the world.

The facility currently uses special machines to keep the mine at —18 degrees Celsius in order to preserve the seeds there for as long as possible.

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